It’s never too late to start using social networking to market your business. That’s what Big Fat Daddy’s owner Wayne Schafer figured out the hard way. Schafer, who sells barbecue for a living at fairs and festivals and never gave much thought to putting his life on the computer screen, much less networking with his customers or anyone for that matter.
He was a very private person who had three decades of professional grilling under his belt. Big Fat Daddy’s nearly hit financial ruin after the economic drought combined with an abnormal rainy season, two hurricanes, a twister, and an earthquake fell on the East Coast one summer season. Unable to grill and cook in pouring rains and monsoon winds, he sat home without pay and dabbled on his computer.
First he moved his website from a standard fixed website to a free blog, unsure how his customers would react. He lost placement and visitors, until he grew knowledgeable on how to place a few keywords in his niche area. Soon he would learn how to post and interact, and having total control over the website and real time updates, opted to keep it as a blogsite.
Soon people were calling including the local newspaper for an interview and someone from Rachael Ray Magazine. This publicity then landed him more invites to more fairs and festivals. The small time investment was paying off.
For a while he left the blog stagnant, but when more rains came, he focused on placing good relevant content in his niche area of cooking beef and barbecue.
Recipes then followed, some of which had nothing to do with beef and barbecue. He quickly found a common bond was formed with grillmaster and foodie, all though the network of sharing knowledge on the worldwide web. His views increased and the phones were ringing.
He fixed up his Facebook Fan page which grew several thousand likes and more interaction with his customers. Soon, people he admired in the BBQ world were on his personal friends list. He networked his blog into his Facebook so every time he blogs his fans get notified.
Then came Twitter. Schafer indicates the overall concept scared him, and he was last to get on the bandwagon. His being scared of what he didn’t know quickly turned to a fine understanding when in a few weeks and only a few tweets did he surge to over twenty thousand followers. “I can’t believe what 140 characters and some hash tags can do. I’m all about twitter now.”
Schafer , though slow in hopping on the internet marketing bandwagon, has reaped the benefits in only one year’s time by taking baby steps. Now almost fully booked for the new season, does minimal marketing and gets cross promoted and featured on three to four blogs and sites monthly. More features equate to more visibility and eventually the pyramid effect comes into play.
The lesson he’s learned?
“It’s better to make baby steps towards marketing that will eventually build a pyramid that keeps trickling down and giving you rewards than sitting back and doing nothing at all.”
What have you done for your business today?